Fish jam by Kylie Howarth

cover image

Five-Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760067045
(Age: 2-5) Highly recommended. Limited-text picture book. Fish. Jazz. Textural Art. Kylie Howarth's textural backgrounds provide a perfect underwater platform for the bold, bright yellow image of Toot the little fish who loves to sing. His tail and body are guitar-like, his top fins - trumpet finger buttons and his mouth shaped like a brass instrument's bell. Kylie painted these seascapes in the backyard with her two young boys' help.
The text is simple, enjoyable and is easy to share with a toddler. Toot loves to sing and make up music, but all the other sea creatures just 'shhh' him and 'shoo' him away, that makes him very unhappy. He can't find anyone to appreciate his tunes. When something unexpected happens, he finds a special place with new friends who all enjoy music. Just like Jonah, Toot is swallowed by a whale; inside the stomach after a very dark journey, he hears 'Clickety-click, clickety click' then 'let's jam.' On the large foldout page, he meets the clicking crab, a piano playing fish, an eel strumming a guitar, the octopus drumming and a purple fish blowing on a saxophone. The story ends happily with 'And he never played solo again.'
This is a delightful picture book to share as a family, at childcare or preschool and provides a great opportunity to listen to jazz music and impromptu scatting. Take time to enjoy exploring painting with natural objects using Kylie's art for inspiration.
Rhylls Bignell